The Enneagram – Understanding a Type Two

Nine Ways of Relating in Life – Are You a Two?

Would you consider yourself a real people person?  That life is about relationships; of being needed by others in your life to support them and keep them in a happy place whenever possible?  Do you always like to see the best in others?  Do you intuitively know what kind of mood someone is in without having to ask? If you find yourself nodding with agreement, then read on to learn more about Type Two.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own being.

Type Twos can be called the Helper, the Giver, the Loving Person, the Caretaker.  Twos are motivated to be appreciated by others, to be helpful and so earn love. They fear rejection.  A huge amount of effort, often to the point of exhaustion, is put out to meet other people’s needs. Twos have a built-in radar to know how to respond to all types of people and to say and do just the right thing.  This sensitivity operates without really having to work at it.  There is an underlying need to receive approval and Two’s tend to be very flattering and positive, always bringing attention to others strengths. If you have a Two in your life, they will always remember your birthday and spend time picking out the perfect card, if you are going through a tough time, expect them to be right there to support you, if you are in charge of a big project, then find a Two to help make it happen.  That is the Twos typical style – to find leaders whose cause they believe in and be the power behind the throne – not the one in the spotlight.  You will wonder how you could ever have done it without them!!  And that is exactly how they want to place themselves.  A Two can be juggling all their balls in the air and if you happen to ask them for help – you got it, the answer is always Yes!  That is definitely a challenge for our Twos – saying no.  They can become drained because of all the doing for others.  After all – it is not okay for THEM to ask for help.  They also have trouble knowing what it is that they truly want as all the focus is on what others want.

Twos at their best in relationships are attentive, appreciative, generous, warm, playful and nurturing.  Twos make their partners feel special and loved.  Twos at their worst in a relationship, are controlling, possessive, needy and insincere.  Since they have trouble asking directly, they tend to manipulate to get what they want.

When Twos learn that if they do not look after themselves, there is nothing left of them to look after others – and that they are inherently loveable for themselves, then they can bring the scale back into balance.

We have a Type Two Minister at our church and she is amazing at delivering a sermon that speaks to each and everyone, being creative and fun, even childlike while leading the “children’s time”, hosting a dinner for the choir yearly to let them know how special they are and opening up her own home to the congregation at Christmas for an open house!  We just need to remind her to take regular study breaks to regroup and build back up her seemingly endless reservoir for serving others or we could lose her to burnout.

Practical suggestions for Type Two:

  • Spend time alone, at home, walking in nature.  Take a vacation alone.
  • Give yourself some of the attention and pampering that you usually give to others.
  • Value the love that is in your life instead of focusing on what’s missing.
  • Set limits. Say, “No, this is not a good time to talk” or “No, I will not be able to help right now” when you feel that another’s request or demand would be too stressful for you.
  • Try to be your own person, not the one others want you to be. Remind yourself that not everyone likes you, and that this is normal.
  • Take pleasure in giving in little ways. Stop overgiving and graciously accept when people give to you.
  • Notice when anger arises and look to see what need you are repressing.
  • Practice telling truth honestly without a positive spin, even if it is negative.

Famous Twos:

Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Luciano Pavarotti, Barbara Bush, Leo Buscalia, Bill Cosby, Barry Manilow, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny G., Lillian Carter, Martin Sheen, Robert Fulghum, Jack Paar, Ann Landers, Dr. McCoy (Star Trek), Mr. Rogers

Do you think you are a Type Two? I love getting feedback.  And here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,


7 replies
  1. Charlene Day says:

    Great article. I also have a strong two wing so it was great to read your suggestions.
    I’m going away into nature this weekend to regenerate the two aspect of myself.
    Thanks for a great article.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlene – thanks for the feedback. It is so important for each of us to honour all aspects of ourselves and for sure there would be strong connection here for you. I will send part of me away with you this weekend and in turn keep you with me as I lead the panels workshop on Saturday. I would be interested in learning of any insights you gain away in nature this weekend,

      Cheers, Karen

  2. Carmen Smith says:

    Hi Karen,

    Wow I am loving your blog!!! What a great idea. It was no accident that I opened it up this morning and the personality type was a two! I needed a few of those reminders this week. I’ve got alot of balls in the air right now! Can’t wait to see you soon!!!


    • Karen says:

      Hey Carmen – at least you are allowing your intuition to guide you!! Glad that the timing was right for you to read this and I look forward to any reflections or questions you may have on future posts! Have a great family weekend. Karen

  3. Bea says:

    Hi Karen,

    I love your blogs. I was wondering if you can help me with my situation. I am a 4w5 that is dating a 2w1 and were having lots of trouble. Were both the emotional types and tend to focus a lot on our relationships. We both have strong wings so sometimes I feel like a 4 but am extremely detached like a 5. He is the same. He is very reserved as he as a 1 wing, but he is still an emotional 2. So as much as we both feel needy, we tend to not show it so much. He also fears rejection and I fear abandonment.

    From the start weve had trust issues. I did somethings that made him resentful of me and in turn, he did somethings that hurted me. As a 4, I feel emotions intensely but I know 2s are very very sensitive to criticism so I have resorted to not show how mad/sad I am at him. I do care for him and the last thing I would want to do is hurt him, but in not expressing my emotions, I feel extremely hurt and numb, and thus Ive started to push him away to protect myself. Right now he is trying to get to me and has been asking me out for weeks. He also tends to manipulate me, instead of asking for what he wants, and I know he is getting unhealthy as he has resorted to being indispensable. I know he fears that I might leave him, but I also fear that if I stay, he will hurt me by abandoning me. Were both lost. Although I do like him, I do not trust him completely. But he is a good guy, he has a lot of integrity due to his 1 wing. How do we get across to each other when we both tend to dance around our feelings?

    Thank you. Any advice would help.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bea – well you have summed this up beautifully. It would appear that you were drawn together to have the opportunity to work out these very core tendencies of your types. As sensitive’s, we can shy away from speaking our truth because of the negative reactions that are possible however – truth is what we most deeply desire because then trust is built and not destroyed. You have the opportunity here to either shut the door because of your fear of abandonment or take the risk to bust through – take a chance in a new way. Speak your truth through love – allow room for the other to speak their truth and then you will know whether you want to step forward into building a lasting relationship with each other. If you are not being true to yourself, it will never have lasting power because it takes great effort to hold yourself back. Invite your partner to face his fear and dig in to know what his truth is…it can take more time to get into that place as a 2, but encourage him that you deserve to know what he truly thinks and so does he! Keep reading, exploring and most importantly risking. You and your life are worth it.

  4. Yudith says:

    Thank you for clarifying that we all have a bit of every type. I guess in my case I have a bit of type 2. Not too much, I do forget birthdays sometimes. It sounds like type 2 do not balance self-love and love for others.
    I wonder if any of the enneagram types are free from any of the common types of fears such as fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of failure etc. Or may be completely fearless? Thank you


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